New Ranger Football Coach Excited For the Future
Tom Hannan is looking forward to being head football coach at Lakewood High School. He takes over the program from Mike Ribar, who is remaining at LHS to coach the baseball program. Hannan recognizes that he faces significant challenges – the Rangers have had only one winning season since their last playoff appearance in 2003.
Hannan comes to Lakewood with 25 years’ experience as a high school head coach. His overall record as a head coach is 121-117. His longest stint was at Crestwood, where he is the winningest coach in school history. He also guided the school to its two first-ever playoff appearances in 2000 and 2001. The Akron Touchdown Club named him Coach of the Year in 1997 and 2001. More recently he three seasons as offensive coordinator at Garfield High School in Garrettsville, Ohio. During his tenure the team’s scoring average grew from 15 points per game to 41 points per game.
He describes himself as “an old school coach, but I think I’m a players’ coach.” His core goals for team are: being true student-athletes; being disciplined; not turning the ball over; being organized; play hard; be accountable; not be outworked by anyone; having a four year experience that can be looked back upon as a very positive experience. He wants his players to build relationships that will last a lifetime.
When asked about his offensive plan for the Rangers, he responded “We’re going to be very unique at Lakewood.” His plan is to utilize both a Wing T and Spread offense. The offense is designed to utilize the quarterback as both a running and passing threat. Good decision making by the quarterback will be key to success. Fortunately last year’s starting quarterback, junior Austin Mahar, is a capable dual-threat quarterback. He and the returning offensive players also have a year of experience in a spread offensive system.
Hannan will handle the play calling duties on offense, and his defensive coordinator to lead the defense. He expects that the DC will use whatever defensive scheme best suits the talents of his players. His four keys to defense will be: be gap sound; play fast and get to the ball; stop the run; and don’t get beat with big plays.
As Cleveland area football fans are aware, even the best laid plans are meaningless if you don’t have the players to execute them. Building the team’s roster size is a top priority both short term and long term. He expects to have a part-time job at the school beginning on March 6, and will reach out to current students to join the team. In the longer term, he will work to build the middle school and youth football programs in Lakewood.
Building upon the work done by Coach Ribar, Hannan wants to maintain the program’s involvement in the community. He will continue the team’s tradition of volunteering with local community groups. He also hopes to maintain and expand the program’s social media presence. His first public outreach event will be a “Meet the Coach Night”. He hopes to have this event at the school very soon. The Lakewood Observer will post details of the event on its website as soon as they become available. Go to www.lakewoodobserver.com for information on Hannan and other local sports stories.
Mike Deneen has extensive experience covering sports and community stories for the Lakewood Observer. Mike has been a Senior Industry Analyst for the Freedonia Group in Cleveland, Ohio, since 1998. He has appeared on CNBC’s Closing Bell, NPR’s MarketPlace and has been quoted multiple times in The Wall Street Journal. He has made multiple guest appearances on ESPN Cleveland radio. Mike also writes for Inside Northwestern, a website that covers Northwestern Wildcat Athletics. You can reach him on Twitter at @MikeDeneen1